WTS ~ WORKING THE STEPS

2009

STEP FIVE
Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another
human being the exact nature of our wrongs.



Admitted: to be permitted to enter, to serve as a means of entrance, to be permitted to join, to grant as true or valid, to concede, to confess to the truth

Nature: the essential characteristics or qualities of a person or thing, fundamental disposition or temperament, the real aspect of a person, place or thing

Wrongs: to take an undesirable turn or course, to get off track or go amiss

Greetings to all of you who are joining us on this journey!! I have to say this is the very best service opportunity I have ever been given.. If you ever need “your feet held to the fire” just take a giant step forward in service and it will guarantee progress!

Words cannot express how much I have learned as I have read your assignments. We are different and diverse and yet so many of our characteristics are the same. I hope as you finish your fourth step and do your fifth step you will experience page 75 of the AA Big Book.


RELAPSE

The one thing both the AA Big Book and the AA 12x12 have in common on step 5 is the warning that if we try to avoid this step, we may relapse.



This a negative promise. May we take it very seriously.

If you are not yet abstinent or are in relapse, this may be the step that can bring you freedom.

Why would this be so? I can only speak from my own experience of course, but for me this step meets a lot of unmet needs I have had most of my life. I will list some of those unmet needs and then elaborate:

  • A need to be heard and understood
  • A need to be accepted
  • A need to feel part of
  • A need to feel equal to--not better than or less than
  • A need to be allowed to be who I really am, where I really am in my journey of life without being judged as good enough or not good enough
  • A need to put the past behind me and embrace a new start
  • A need to realize I had some assets and that my defects weren’t terminal and that most of them had worked pretty well in my early life
  • A need to see a living example in my listener of someone who had overcome some of the very issues I was now facing and seemed to be at peace
  • A need to know what my part really was so I could let go of a lot of false guilt and shame
  • A need to be totally and unconditionally forgiven and loved

Using the Step Five process has, over time, met these needs and I am grateful . I actually listened to a step five this past weekend. Today the member called me and said she wanted to know how to keep this experience alive! I will share this in my answers to step five later in the week so if you are on your first step five, this is a very real experience and can be maintained and developed if we are willing to continue to enlarge our spiritual life with inventory and confession.

How these needs have been met:

As a child, I was not permitted to express much verbally and only if it was in total agreement with the “powers that be!” So to be heard in an understanding way was like an ointment to my soul. I have taken 5th steps with several different people and they have all been a little different. But the result was always the same. I was careful who I chose to hear it and I never had a bad experience. After the process, I always felt a kinship with the person and have always felt accepted for just exactly who I had revealed myself to be. I also experienced a new willingness to contribute in the OA community because I felt like part of it. Like the definitions say, admitting my shortcomings really did permit entrance into the community at a deeper level. It seemed there were new responses from those in my groups and I felt the respect for the courage I had shown in completing this step. I began to feel like less of a newcomer and was able to share my recovery at a more heartfelt level. I felt a desire to move forward to step six and really let God work within me. About that time I heard the phrase “the steps will work you” if you stay focused on them one day at a time. I have found that to be so true for me. It’s almost like a type of surrender — letting the principles of the steps find entrance into my being. My fourth step allowed me to see the patterns I had that always caused me to get off track in life. I now had a way of being aware of when I was beginning to veer off to one extreme or the other.

I saw that my assets could be used to work the steps and to use the tools of the program. My sponsor let me know that she had many of the same issues I was experiencing and had found growth and peace in the program. I also felt like I had been “reborn” in some small sense — nothing dramatic, but tangible. There was definitely a sense of love and forgiveness both within myself and in my sponsor. It was as if she was channeling Higher Power’s love and forgiveness to me. I had not experienced that before.

So, then came the feedback. Along with really good suggestions regarding abstinence and spirituality, my sponsor asked me to pray with her for a deeper connection to Higher Power by working the remaining steps.

In addition, the OA 12x12 warns us that we might uncover trauma. I did. My sponsor let me know in no uncertain terms that I would need professional help and that I would not be using her for a free therapist! That seemed a little bit of a pinch to me. I felt a sense of shame, but I knew she was right. Acceptance of all this feedback was the beginning of a journey beyond my wildest dreams.

I left there with hope but also knew it would still not be easy. There was still much work to do and by the grace of God I was willing to do it. Gratitude filled me.

This past week, I did a mini fourth step on an issue at work and have shared the fifth step with my sponsor and trusted others.

I want to share this with you in case it might help in some way. I used the resentment form from the OA Big Book study link.

Resentment or troubling issue

Why it upsets me—time to vent and be heard!

What instincts it affects:

Resentment prayer

My part:

 

I was falsely accused of something serious at work

At first I was in shock. I had trouble believing it. Then I could not seem to let go of how embarrassed I was about it even though it was untrue and easy to prove. I felt violated and abused. I felt hurt, angry, sad, rejected, judged, ridiculed. After getting the support I needed to deal with the issue I began to do the next right thing but was still very troubled.

This incident affected every single instinct. It threatened my self esteem, my feeling of personal security (I felt totally unsafe at work), my financial insecurity (we are cutting staff right now, what if they don’t believe me?), my ambitions at work, (I will lose the respect of human resources and my supervisors) it affected all of my personal relationships at work because everyone was talking about it, and I felt like a public spectacle, it affected sexual relationships because it was related to this area and it also affected my husband by stressing him

God I do not like how this has affected me. This is indeed a very sick person who needs help. Please grant me wisdom and courage to deal with this issue as you would have me so that all will unfold according to your will. Grant me grace to be better not bitter. I admit to you I want revenge. But you are God and I am not. I surrender to your will not mine. Amen

Selfishness: I can see my selfishness in that this issue has actually surfaced on a less serious level a few times in the last 4 years and each time I have been a people pleaser and just let it go.

I see the denial and dishonesty –I don’t want to confront issues and don’t feel safe doing so due to childhood trauma and the resulting defect of character people pleasing. I also see the self seeking because I am extra nice to hurting people in a need to be needed and then am baffled when they turn on me!

I also am experiencing great fear because in the past four years I have been handling this my way instead of speaking the truth when the truth should be told and playing God in other people’s lives who I deem to be less well than myself. So much false pride. To try and “fix” someone who only Higher Power can heal and then only if they are willing. Another badly needed lesson in humility!         

               


In sharing this with my sponsors, some sponsees, and other members I have received so many prayers and support. They know I am going through something difficult but they believe in me and that feels really good. This too shall pass.

I am sensing it is ok to share this with the group although it takes a little humility and courage. If it helps someone find strong recovery I am very blessed for sharing it.

I know I am innocent of the accusation so I am at peace. However, Bill W. said we always need to look at criticisms and ask ourselves if there is any truth at all and if there is then take responsibility for our part. I feel I am doing this. I do not know what the outcome will be. It is in God’s hands. I truly mean that. My recovery from compulsive overeating and my healing from childhood trauma are the most important things in my life today and to have those two gifts means I walk hand in hand with My Creator. I will be taken care of. God is my real Employer.

Time for assignments:

AA Big Book: page 72-75 (4 pages)

AA 12x12: Summary for step five, page 7 table of contents as well as Step Five, pages 55-62 (8 pages)

OA 12x12: Step Five, pages 45-52 (8 pages)

Before sharing your inventory please ask your Higher Power to guide you to the correct person or people to share your inventory. Ask for openness and willingness.

I post this share from another member’s answers to step four last week—this describes this process so beautifully:

Before my first inventory and I guess this one, I was reluctant that I could give it all over. I felt I was at the edge of a diving board and it was really a one way trip if I was going to get better.
So I took the plunge and . . .
After the inventory I came up alive from the dive! I felt free and proud of my dive. I felt I had done the best I can. Like an Olympic diver who feels exuberance and joy. There are no words to describe it except a bird flying through the clear blue sky.


Time to take the dive! Share Step Five!

Questions for reflection:

AA Big Book

  1. According to the first paragraph in Chapter 6, Into Action, what is the goal of Step Five?
  2. What is the best reason for discussing ourselves with someone else?
  3. Describe your stage character!
  4. After you share your inventory, share your experience in relation to page 75..
  5. Is your work solid so far? If not are you willing to continue doing inventory until it is thorough?


AA 12 x 12

  1. What is one way to do inventory without being thorough?
  2. With what do we suffer when we fail to do a thorough inventory or fail to share it with another?
  3. After sharing your inventory do you feel forgiven? Better able to forgive others? If not, could this be a sign there is still more inventory to do?
  4. What is the definition of humility?
  5. Are you bothered by fear, self pity and hurt feelings? How about guilt and remorse? Do you anger easily? How did sharing your inventory free you in these areas? If you are not sensing any change, could it be that your inventory is not thorough?
  6. Why is it dangerous to go it alone in spiritual matters?
  7. Summarize page 62 in your own words and share whether this was your experience?


OA 12x12

  1. On page 45, the reading tells us there are positive actions to take to end our isolation even prior to working Step Five. What are those positive actions? How many of them are you consistently taking?
  2. According to the text, with whom does Step Five begin? What do we open our hearts to?
  3. Was Step Five humiliating or humbling? What is the difference?
  4. Why according to the text do we hold onto resentments? Fear?
  5. What is the way to deal with old traumas? Are you now or have you been open to outside help?
  6. What is the best way to develop more honesty?



Optional creative journaling exercise:
Draw a picture, create a picture using magazines, or create a word picture to describe how you feel after Step Five.



Thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing the hard work with me.

I do pray it is life changing. I pray none of us will ever be the same. I am almost sure I won’t!

I pray for each of us to have such a strong recovery through working the steps that the message will be carried far and near.

For after all, we ARE the message.

In loving surrender,

Linda S.



 
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